On Thursday President Joe Biden spoke with Chines Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping for 2.5 hours as a part of the Biden administration’s efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the U.S. and the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). The call was a hope of the ability of the two countries to manage their differences and work together on aligning interests.
Biden and Xi discussed a range of issues, including Taiwan, and the White House readout identified “climate change and health security” as areas where follow-up activity from U.S. and Chinese officials would be required. The readout did not indicate whether the unsolved investigation into COVID-19 in China or how China is contributing to the opioid crisis in the United States. It appeared the two leaders did not discuss the origins of COVID-19 or the drug smuggling from China into the United States.
On Wednesday, in a press briefing, White House spokesperson John Kirby evaded a reporter’s questions on whether fentanyl and COVID-19
origins would be discussed.
A longer readout of the call from the Chinese Foreign Ministry mentions global security challenges and a need for the U.S. and China to moderate their competitive behavior and inflammatory rhetoric. It confirmed Biden’s statement that “U.S.-China cooperation benefits not only the two peoples but also people of all countries.”
XI did discuss economic problems facing the world and efforts to eliminate the COVID-19, reiterating his opposition to Taiwan’s independence as amatter of Chinese national security. According to the readout, the PRC leader proclaimed, “Those who play with fire will perish by it.”
While some researchers suspect the virus grew out of a lab jointly operated by U.S. and Chinese scientists, others argue it came from a wet market in the Wuhan province. China has continued to obscure evidence that could help researchers discover the origins of the COVID-19 virus.
The opioid, fentanyl produced in China, continues to be smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border fueling a record number of overdose deaths in the United States in 2021, according the CDC.
Although Biden has had several calls with his Chinese counterpart since taking office, none of the readouts of those calls have mentioned illicit drug production coming into the U.S. from China. China continues to deny being the world’s largest producer of fentanyl.
In 2020, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) wrote in a report, “China remains the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked through international mail and express consignment operations environment, as well as the main source for fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States.
Many lawmakers are saying President Biden is not doing enough to stem the flow of fentanyl into the United States.
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